In Arlington there is a sort of different way of feeding the hungry. Their organization is called The Arlington Secret Santa program and it is held by the Department of Human Services (DHS) organization for Arlington Virginia. You can come from a low income family, a foster care, or just being disabled to receive this service. Disabled meaning some sort of illness or a senior citizen. They use gift cards instead of just donating food or adopting children into their house for a variety of reasons.
The recipients can use the gift cards to buy whatever food, clothes, or toys they want. They are allowed to use the gift card like a debit card almost so it’s not embarrassing to them when they go out shopping. Some might feel patronizing by receiving a holiday gift from strangers. This is a way that the underprivileged can get the things they actually want! In low income families the parents can give their children the gifts they want and that will make the family bond stronger.
Each gift card can range from $25 or higher! The gift cards are sent out to over 1,000 needy individuals each holiday season. A person delivers as many gifts cards as they want. Each person that donates a gift cards must print the amount onto an envelope and include a return address so that the individual receiving it can send a thank you letter! You can send in your gifts cards to Secret Santa Program at 2100 Washington Blvd., Arlington, VA 22204.
As well as donating gift cards, you can also send them checks! The checks must be written out to Arlington County Treasurer – Secret Santa. They will then purchase gift cards and designate them to the families who need them most! The families prefer gift cards over food drives or having another family help them. With gift cards they can go shopping and buy what they want. They don’t have to deal with strangers or feel uncomfortable.
The program is also very effective with the disabled and the senior citizens. With their fixed incomes it can be hard to make the holidays feel special. This has really helped the Mary Marshall Assisted Living Residence, they home more than 52 disabled Arlingtonians with low income! With children and teens in foster care they never really get to pick what they want in donated things. With gift cards the children and teens can really pick out what they like. This is especially helpful for the teenagers in foster care because they can be pickier.
The main office is open year round and is always accepting of donations of all kind! Kurt Larrick is the main guy you want to call about anything concerning Secret Santa. Here is a website where you may find all the information.